Migration and Home Affairs

A new era for EU Home Affairs and Justice policies

Today marks a milestone for police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters in the European Union. As of today, 1st of December 2014, 5 years after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the normal powers of the Commission and of the Court of Justice will apply to the acts in this field, in the same way as in any other area of EU law.

This is the beginning of a new era for the whole field of Justice and Home Affairs, as current limitations to the judicial control by the European Court of Justice and to the Commission's role as Guardian of the Treaty over the area of judicial cooperation in criminal matters will now be lifted, meaning the Commission will have the power to launch infringement proceedings if EU law – previously agreed by Member States unanimously – has not been correctly implemented.

Making use of the specific provisions of Article 10 of Protocol 36 attached to the Treaty, the UK in July 2013 decided to use its right to exercise a block 'opt-out', as of 1 December 2014, from all EU acts adopted under the former third pillar which had not been amended since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. On 20 November 2014, the UK notified its wish to opt-back-in to 35 of these instruments. Today's Commission Decision allows the UK to immediately re-join 29 non-Schengen measures, including Europol. The Council of the EU is responsible for adopting a Decision on the UK's opt-in to 6 Schengen measures.

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Press release

Monday, 1 December, 2014